Surviving Bed Rest



At first glance, the notion of bed rest might sound like a dream come true. A chance to rest up, catch some extra shut-eye and twiddle your thumbs while actually having the spare time to do so? It almost seems too good to be true. But for women who are put on it, bed rest actually can be hard work. After all, bed rest is traditionally prescribed by a doctor when a complication in the pregnancy necessitates it, meaning a mother’s first response is commonly one of concern, both for the health of the baby and for the uncertainty that the future holds. What might have seemed like an excuse to take guilt-free naps now can feel like a death sentence on a social life and a hindrance to life as you’ve known it thus far. Here are some tricks and tips not only to survive bed rest but make the most of it.

Accept your new normal. There were wonderful plans in the works. A beautiful maternity photo shoot during your third trimester. Your best friend was going to host a baby shower. And perhaps a babymoon was booked. And now it’s all a bust. Being told that plans need to change is a downer, and it’s okay to lament it, but also take time to acknowledge that what you’re doing is in the best interest of your baby and you. Don’t squander the time away with “what if’s” and “if only’s.” Extend grace to yourself and others around you, as changes are in store for not only you but also those closest to you!

Get the 411. Get clarification from your doctor on what your limitations are, as bed rest varies for each person. Some are allowed mild activity, such as making simple meals or rocking a little one in a glider, while others require strict lying down 24/7. Keep an eye out for complications such as bleeding or aggravated contractions and make sure to inform your doctor if any changes take place.

Call in the troops. Update your family and friends regarding your current situation. Reach out for help, which can take on different forms such as aiding in housework, running errands, providing childcare, caring for pets and bringing meals. TakeThemAMeal.com is a free website that allows groups to sign up to provide meals and highlights food allergies, convenient drop-off times and directions, as well as a spreadsheet that showcases what everyone else is providing to ensure variety. Even those less inclined to attempt culinary help can pitch in with simple snacks such as applesauce, cheese sticks and crackers or the purchase of disposable plates, bowls and utensils.

Establish a command center. Write a list of daily essentials you need close by and organize a system to keep it all at arm’s reach to avoid unnecessary trekking around the house or, if needed, asking someone else to grab things for you. Items may include lotion, nail clippers, phone charger, TV and DVD remotes, batteries (especially handy for said remotes!), pens and a journal. Look into purchasing or renting a hospital tray, a wonderful resource for eating in bed and comfortably using your laptop while resting. Have a friend or family member fill a cooler or mini fridge in your room with snacks and meals to have at hand. Family members can dine in with you using TV trays to ensure that family meals are still in play, albeit in a unique way!

Dig into a page-turner. Now is an excellent time to tackle that pile of books that have sat unread on your nightstand! Challenge your thinking and branch out to new genres. Ask friends for recommendations, check out GoodReads.com for additional suggestions and utilize the library’s online hold function, where you can pick a book and have it sent to the closest library in your system. If you’re not inclined to ask someone to hit the library or bookstore, invest in a Kindle or a Nook and simply scan Amazon for free books. Use the extra time to research relevant topics, such as pregnancy, labor and delivery and baby care, then devise a birth plan.

Movie night, every night. The stress of being out of commission is enough to make anyone batty. Take a mental holiday and indulge in a movie or TV series binge. An instant stream Netflix or Amazon account can be your best friend at a time like this. View a series from start to finish, commercial free, such as Gilmore Girls or Friends. DVR shows to fast forward through commercials and sign up for Redbox’s text service, where you receive frequent codes for free movies and discounts.

Find a support group. When Kansas City mom Holly Jones was told she would need to be on bed rest for the remaining four months of her pregnancy, she found online support to be critical. “I found Facebook groups to be the most active and even found one for women dealing with the same complications as my own.” she says. Online support can come in many different forms, from bed rest forums such as KeepEmCookin.com to simply staying connected with family and friends via Facetime, Skype, Facebook and Instagram. Being bedbound doesn’t require being disconnected. With a little work—and an internet connection—you have the world at your fingertips.

Craft and chronicle. Handiwork has a calming effect and is a wonderful way to prepare for your little one’s arrival. Knit a baby blanket, scrapbook and hand-write thank you notes to all those who have helped during this time!

Olathe mom Lauren Greenlee was put on bed rest for two of her three pregnancies. She can now be found running nonstop after her busy brood of boys!

------------------------------------------------- Did You Know? ---------------------------------------------------

If your doctor has prescribed bed rest, know that you are not alone. It’s estimated that more than a million pregnancies a year are classified as high risk and of them, at least 70 percent of women will be placed on bed rest for some period of time.

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